In 1944, 20 year old Lieutenant Hiro Onoda and his company were sent to remote Lubang Island, the Philippines to conduct guerilla warfare against the Allied Forces. 29 years later he emerged from the jungle with news that the war had ended in 1945.
What a costly experience borne of ignorance Lieutenant Hiro had to bear. For 29 years he readied and engaged himself with orders to hold his position until personally relieved of that duty by his commanding officer. Of his company, all but he died in the jungle, engaged in a warfare to which Emperor Hirohito had already surrendered.
There are untold millions like Lieutenant Onoda living today and millions more who have already died in the jungles of idolatry, ignorant of a spiritual warfare accomplished by the Lord Jesus Christ. In ignorance, rebellion and self-righteous religious pride they fight on. I know for I was one of them. I fought Satan for fifty years before I knew he had been defeated. God describes such as “those who run as uncertainly, who beat the air.” (1 Corinthians 9:26) I ran uncertainly, ignorant of the enemy who was much too cunning for one who always had a shadow of doubt as to my standing with God. I engaged in shadowboxing with a skillful adversary who kept me fighting “straw men” in the war for my soul.
Then the news came: “Tell Jerusalem her warfare is ended.”
Christ has confronted the enemy. The ministry of Christ included a wilderness when Satan tempted him to dishonor the Father. His response: “Get thee behind me Satan, for it is written.” Christ was not shadow boxing.
Christ has conquered the enemy. The ministry of Christ included a cross where he satisfied law and justice for “those who were all their lifetimes subject to bondage.” Now, “who can lay anything to the charge of God’s Elect, It is Christ who has died.” He did not run as uncertainly.
Christ has conformed the enemy. The ministry of Christ includes a church that was by nature the enemy of God. Being transformed by the renewing of our minds we “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ.” The Bride of Christ does not run as uncertainly; neither do we beat the air. We run in celebration of his victory. The war is over.
--- Winston Pannell
Spiritual Blessings in Christ
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ." (Ephesians 1:3)
Now friends, look where the blessing is: "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." (Rom. 3:24) Our justification by grace and acceptance with God is only to be found where it is treasured up – in Christ. You cannot find it in yourselves. It has pleased the Father that in the Lord Jesus Christ all fullness should dwell for every poor, sensible soul who is brought by God the Spirit to confess his guilt and misery, feel his need, and have earnest desires, hungerings and thirstings after Christ's justifying righteousness. The Lord brings his people to know that in his solemn presence they are altogether as an unclean thing, and that all their doings and righteousness are as filthy rags. (Isa. 64:6) They find that when they would do good evil is present with them; that the good they would they do not, while the evil they would not that they do.
So that the poor soul who is brought more and more to feel his own evils, and to see that he has nothing in self to glory in, but that he is as an unclean thing before the Lord, will be led by the Holy Spirit to discover that his justification and acceptance is treasured up in a precious Christ; and he will burst out in the language of the church of old, "Surely shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength;" (Isa. 45:24) and again, "In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified and shall glory." (Isa. 45:25) Our justification, our acceptance and our glory before a holy God is in the Lord Jesus Christ. Boasting is excluded on every side. Hence the apostle says, "To declare at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him who believes in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? No, but by the law of faith." (Rom. 3:26,27)
This is the way, my friends, whereby we are considered just and accepted in Jesus Christ. "Be it known unto you, therefore, men and brethren, that through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins; and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses." (Acts 13:38,39) The righteousness of Christ is imputed to the poor sinner. "Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputes not iniquity." (Ps. 32:2) The poor sinner's unrighteousness is washed away in the atoning blood of the Lamb; he is constituted righteous in the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my friends, as we stand on the Rock of Ages, sin is done away; we are clad in the Redeemer's righteousness, and stand complete and accepted in the sight of Jehovah. But it is in Christ, my friends. And blessed be God that it is there.